Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth, and when we eat something, these bacteria release acids that attack the tooth enamel.
When these attacks are repeated over time, the enamel will break down and this will eventually lead to cavities.
When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing it hardens into something called calculus or tartar. When tartar collects above the gum line, brushing and cleaning between the teeth becomes more difficult.
The gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of gum or periodontal disease.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this happening.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth daily and use floss or use an interdental cleaner
- Eat a balance diet and limit the number of stacks between meals
- Visit your dentist health care team regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
- Ask your dental health care team about sealants. Sealants are protective coatings that can be applied to the deeper grooves of back teeth where decay often occurs and where plaque collects.
If you take steps to remove the plaque each day, you have a greater chance of avoiding tooth and gum problems.